Preferred name selected for Hurstville’s new central plaza

Naming competition: The council received almost 200 suggestions for the name of Hurstville's new town square.
Naming competition: The council received almost 200 suggestions for the name of Hurstville's new town square.

Hurstville’s new central plaza is expected to be named Astra Square.

The name is recommended because of its historical significance to the new outdoor space, according to a report by Georges River Council’s Community and Culture Committee.

The plaza is currently being built on the the site where the Bag-a-Bargain shop stood at 296 Forest Road which Hurstville Council acquired more than eight years ago.

It will provide a new public space for the community and a link between the Forest Road entrance to Hurstville Station and Westfield and Club Central.

With a construction budget of $1,180,000, the plaza will include shaded seating and outdoor dining areas, a water feature, and soft landscaping at Forest Road, new public amenities and pavement lighting.

Georges River Council held a Central Plaza Naming competition in June and July to gather public suggestions for the name of the new plaza.

The council received 149 suggestions for eligible names.

The winning entry was determined based on a number of criteria including creativity, memorability, capacity to add value to the area and enhance community pride, familiarity and relatability to the local government area.

Council officers assessed the entries and recommended that the following three options be forwarded to the council for consideration:

- Astra Square as in the 1940s there was the Astra Reading Rooms and Library located in Diments Lane. The advertisements at the time suggested the library was ‘a restful place and ideal for that spare hour’. “This to me sums up what Hurstville Plaza should be,” the entrant said in their submission.

- Eora Square, selected for its Aboriginal and multicultural significance. The entrant said, “Hurstville is derived from the English word Hurst, which means wooded eminence, and Eora is the name of the Aboriginal tribe that resided in the area as the First Fleet arrived. Both names are very elegant and work of the tongue as well as provide history.’ There were 11 variations of Eora nominated by different community members including Eora Central and Eora Place. 13 per cent of all entries received were Aboriginal names.

- Harmony Square, chosen not only for its significance to the council’s Chinese residents but with an aspirational aim of creating a unified community. The entrant said, “As Hurstville and surrounding areas are getting more and more diverse, I believe one of  the most important things is that everyone gets along, accepts each other’s differences and lives in harmony alongside each other.

The three names went to the council’s Aboriginal Reference Group and Multicultural Reference Group for consideration.

The Aboriginal Reference Group prefered ‘Eora Square’ out of respect for the traditional custodians of the area.

The Multicultural Reference Group suggested ‘Eora Harmony Square’ as it relates to  local Aboriginal people and promotes living in harmony at Hurstville’s key centre.

The suggested name of Astra Square is expected to go before the next meeting of Georges River Council for endorsement.